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N24.18BN CORRUPTION CHARGE: COURT GRANTS GOJE, 3 OTHERS BAIL

By NBF News
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The Federal High Court in Gombe presided over by Justice Babatunde Quadir yesterday granted bail to former Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Danjuma Goje who is facing corruption charges. The former governor and three others were arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an 18-count charge of looting N24.18 billion.

Goje and the three others, Alhaji Sabo Tumu, who was Government House food supplier between May 2003 and May 2011, Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafaty, former Executive Chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board, Gombe and S. M Dakoro, Proprietor of Dakoro Gombe were on Monday arraigned in court.

In granting the bail, Justice Quadir, submitted that charges leveled against Goje and three others were bailable ones, quashing the prosecuting counsel argument that the accused if granted bail would interfere with investigation.

Citing section 118 of the Procedural law, Justice Quadir said the summary of evidence, whether the accused would be available for trial, the likelihood of committing same offence if granted bail among others were put into considerations.

The prayer to deny bail for the accused as advanced by the EFCC counsel on the ground that the former governor sponsored the Yankaleri group during his tenure and would use same to truncate justice was also quashed.

The argument that the former governor and indeed the three accused persons would use their position to interfere with the investigation was also not upheld by the trial judge, saying that the argument could not be substantiated.

Granting the bail to the accused, the Judge ordered that Goje and the three others must pay the sum of N200 million each, bring two sureties who must be identified residents of Gombe with landed property in Gombe, preferably the Government Reservation Area (GRA) who must pay same before regaining their freedom.

According to the presiding judge, the landed property must show clear evidence of Certificate of Ownership (C of O), with confirmation letter of from the Gombe State Ministry of Lands, which must be submitted with the court registrar. The sureties must also submit their international passports if the accused must regain their freedom.

The trial judge, had on Monday ordered the former governor and the three othersĀ  to be remanded in the State Security Service (SSS) custody pending the determination of the court on whether to grant them bail or not yesterday.

Reacting to the granting of the bail application of the accused, the prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu said the judge followed all the conditions spelt out for bail for accused persons, adding that it was difficult to fault the grounds on which he gave the bail to the accused.

Shittu said that the trail judge handled the case with fairness to all parties involved, adding that the EFCC had achieved its aim, which was to arraign the suspects in court.

In his own reaction, the counsel to the accused Adeniyi Akintola condemned the media hype that followed Goje's trial saying the EFCC gave misleading figures to the media about the allegations levied against his client.

'There was too much media hype and speculation. They were crediting my client with N52 billion on the pages of newspaper, this s not good,' he lamented.

Akintola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) blast the EFCC for what he described as shoddy investigation, saying that if they were not ready they should not have arraigned his clients